The Technical Image: A History Of Styles In Scientific Imagery

Hardcover | April 17, 2015

EditorHorst Bredekamp, Vera Dünkel, Birgit Schneider

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In science and technology, the images used to depict ideas, data, and reactions can be as striking and explosive as the concepts and processes they embody—both works of art and generative forces in their own right. Drawing on a close dialogue between the histories of art, science, and technology, The Technical Image explores these images not as mere illustrations or examples, but as productive agents and distinctive, multilayered elements of the process of generating knowledge. Using beautifully reproduced visuals, this book not only reveals how scientific images play a constructive role in shaping the findings and insights they illustrate, but also—however mechanical or detached from individual researchers’ choices their appearances may be—how they come to embody the styles of a period, a mindset, a research collective, or a device.

Opening with a set of key questions about artistic representation in science, technology, and medicine, The Technical Image then investigates historical case studies focusing on specific images, such as James Watson’s models of genes, drawings of Darwin’s finches, and images of early modern musical automata. These case studies in turn are used to illustrate broad themes ranging from “Digital Images” to “Objectivity and Evidence” and to define and elaborate upon fundamental terms in the field. Taken as a whole, this collection will provide analytical tools for the interpretation and application of scientific and technological imagery.

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From the Publisher

In science and technology, the images used to depict ideas, data, and reactions can be as striking and explosive as the concepts and processes they embody—both works of art and generative forces in their own right. Drawing on a close dialogue between the histories of art, science, and technology, The Technical Image explores these imag...

Horst Bredekamp is professor of art history at the Humboldt University of Berlin and a permanent fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. Vera Dünkel is a research affiliate with the “Das Technische Bild” research project. Birgit Schneider is the postdoctoral fellow of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation at the Institute for Arts...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.8 inPublished:April 17, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022625884X

ISBN - 13:9780226258843

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“By way of direct and empirical engagement with materials and forms that make up an image, general issues emerge that go into informing and shaping the study of technical images. Among the most important of these general issues is the notion of style. As an art-historical category, style thus reemerges in the context of technical images. This book does an excellent job of not only expanding the study of the image in the history and sociology of science more toward art history’s veritable and long engagement with the image; but also conversely, it succeeds in explaining what art history takes to be an image. Visually exciting, interesting, and engaging.”